“It’s such a sad indictment of the current way in which science is conducted and vested interests have infected our society.” Ecologist Tom Langton has been looking at the scientific and legal aspects of the dreaded badger culls since 2016, and this summer represents his fifth year working on what is being described as the worst miscarriage of UK biological science for fifty years. Tomorrow (the 22nd of July) Tom is off to London for a High Court challenge of Secretary of State George Eustice over the “Next Steps” policy, which was published in March 2020 and revealed the way in which badgers may be legally shot in huge numbers over the next five years and beyond – all the way up to 2038. For this shortcast we asked Tom to explain a bit about the new 2020 policy and what exactly was being challenged – a challenge which, incidentally, has taken over a year of battling to gain permission for. Tom starts off with aspects of the 2020 policy in terms of what we might expect to see under the wording of the controversial new policy and the dilemma (in Tom’s words) that it now offers to those who may be invited for the foreseeable future to vaccinate badgers as long as they stand by while most of them are killed first…Continue reading
Last month we posted a shortcast by ecologist Tom Langton which discussed a call for evidence made by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (the JNCC) which could lead to the removal of legislative protection for many of the UK’s amphibians and reptiles, and which – in Tom’s words – could “allow snake-bashing to become lawful again”. The following week a short, precise message was sent to the JNCC by a coalition of over 30 non-government organisations (see – Open NGO letter responding to proposed changes to the eligibility criteria for the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981)) which specifically referenced the Quinquennial Review – the process by which every five years an inter-agency group makes recommendations to Defra and the devolved administrations in Great Britain on changes to the schedules (or lists) of protected species. Tom decided to go a bit further and also wrote to the various government bodies concerned to remind them of some of the detail and asking them to be clear about things as soon as possible – by the 26th July to be precise. He also popped in a freedom of information request for the paperwork for good measure. In his letter, Tom suggested that legal issues are at stake here and that repercussions could be huge. What seems strange is the lack of response from those government bodies. You can imagine it might perhaps take a few days to draft a response, but it’s now been more than two weeks since his letter was sent. Maybe they disagree amongst themselves – or simply don’t know what to do about it….Continue reading
In this shortcast Tom Langton discusses the call for evidence made by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) which could lead to the removal of legislative protection for many of the UK’s amphibians and reptiles, and could “allow snake-bashing to become lawful again”.
As Tom says, keeping moderately abundant animals from declining is as important as protecting rare species, as it is more expensive to recover the biomass once it’s disappeared”.